Why the New York Logo Update Was A Rebranding Flop

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Newer isn’t always better. At least that was the consensus among New Yorkers after the Partnership for New York rolled out its new logo for New York City last month.

The “We ❤️ NYC” mark debuted in late March and was intended to be a modern update of Milton Glaser’s iconic “I ❤️ NY” logo. The imagery coincides with a new campaign aiming to diffuse the “divisiveness and negativity” stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Notable changes to the logo include:

Changing the “I” to “We”
Updating the heart so it appears more like a heart emoji
Replacing the typewriter-style font with a variation of Helvetica to match New York subway signage
Adding the “C” at the end of “NY” so the logo refers specifically to New York City

While the new logo was intended to bring people together, unfortunately, it has succeeded in helping people bond over how much they dislike it. This tweet asking folks to share what they think of the new logo has racked up over 2,200 responses that are overwhelmingly negative.

What went wrong with NYC’s new logo?

For starters, “I ❤️ NY” is a tough act to follow.

The original logo designed by Glaser was introduced in 1977 to reinvigorate tourism and morale in New York after a long economic and social slump. Over four decades, it became a beloved image and catchphrase for both the city and state of New York.

I think the city that currently owns the most iconic branding in the entire world should not rebrand.

— Allana Harkin (@AllanaHarkin)
March 20, 2023

Much of the criticism of the new logo is directed at the design itself. Many people have questioned the lack of symmetry (We NYC ❤️?), the emoji-esque heart, and the font choice (Helvetica is very widely used).

These elements make the design look unprofessional and unoriginal which feels off-brand for a city known for being a hub of creativity and rich culture, ultimately causing the attempted rebrand to fall flat.

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